There was a huge sigh of relief from ICBC’s CEO as he left Smithers’ last Council meeting. I think he was expecting some tough questions that didn’t get asked.
The specific reason Smithers Council requested his appearance was to explain the huge cost-to-benefit disparity between rural and urban ICBC insurance holders. Council had said on the public record during previous meetings that it would ask the hard questions. Those questions, outlined in previous Council meeting agendas and emails, are clear. Why do Smithers residents pay three-and-a-quarter times as much in ICBC premiums per dollar paid out in claims settlements, compared to downtown Vancouver drivers? Why is ICBC going to intentionally overcharge rural British Columbians for the next ten years? Why doesn’t ICBC care that the injury rate per driver in the Lower Mainland is two-and-a-half times higher than it is in North Central B.C., when injury-related costs are two thirds of ICBC’s budget?
Maybe Council was distracted by the CEO’s half-hour presentation that had nothing to do with the issue he was invited to address. Councilor Benson, who had previously recused himself from multiple Council discussions because of conflict of interest, decided to stick around this time and talk about things that were completely unrelated to the issue he was supposed to be focused on. Is ‘conflict of interest’ optional, depending on the day or mood of the Councilor? Councilor Thomas and Smithers Mayoral candidate Atrill were mute on the issue, which speaks volumes about their interest. Councilor Buikema seemed to be asking the CEO if he should be concerned. (Not sure what answer he was expecting? “ Yeah, you guys should be freaking out about this!”) Councilor Brown addressed Provincial politics. Only Councilor Wray seemed to have a grasp on why the CEO was there, but even he couldn’t ask the questions and get clear answers.
Smithers’ drivers have overpaid $20 million in insurance premiums over five years. Nearly $4,000 for every man woman and child in Smithers. One would think that Town Council would take this issue a bit more seriously. Apparently, they’d rather have their constituents just keep paying and not rock the ICBC boat.
The video of the Council meeting segment is viewable on my Facebook Page ‘Darcy Repen- A Guy from Telkwa’.
– Darcy Repen, Telkwa, B.C.